This is a collection of Geocities data downloaded by a bunch of people who call themselves ARCHIVE TEAM, who began scraping the Yahoo! Geocities site during a six month period in 2009, before Yahoo! shut down geocities.com on October 26th, 2009. This collection is compressed in a UNIX filesystem with both 7zip archives and tape archives (gtar).
This collection was put together by nearly 100 folks assembling at the news of the death of Geocities, a website that allowed free hosting of web pages from roughly 1994 (in beta) to 2009. In 1999, it was purchased by Yahoo! for three billion dollars. We're not kidding here: billion with a b.
At the time of the purchase, Geocities was the THIRD most popular website on the Internet. Even by the time of its shutdown, it was in the top 250. We don't have complete rock-solid knowledge of why it was shut down, but all signs point to Yahoo! trying to get back to basics (like, uh, having a huge audience?) and Geocities magically didn't fall into this new "focus", and lacked any internal cheerleader to make it last through meetings.
Yahoo! succeeded in destroying the most amount of history in the shortest amount of time, certainly on purpose, in known memory. Millions of files, user accounts, all gone.
We are unsure how much of Geocities was rescued in this package you have, but we do know we got enough for it to represent a good amount. Attempts to contact Yahoo! to get any hard numbers were consistently rebuffed; we suspect even Yahoo! didn't know exactly how many accounts and files they had. As mentioned in the IMPORTANT MESSAGE, others were concurrently downloading Geocities and used alternate methods of discovery, so our datasets do not overlap 100%. The hope is that more will contribute datasets over time and a good amount of Geocities will be available for study. While we don't feel the need to act like a 1950s commercial inventing new ways to use hula hoops and baking powder, the most likely candidates for this Geocities Anniversary Collection are researchers, scientists, historians and developers who wish to work with a large collection of information hand-made by millions of free labor. We forsee application tests, sociology studies, academic articles and history tests putting this to good use. Our job is not to find a use for it. Our job was to save it. Now we're giving it to whoever wants it.